Cambodian Antitrust and Competition draft law near approval

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The Cambodian Ministry of Commerce says the government will finalise a draft law on Antitrust and Competition, and submit it to the National Assembly for approval soon.

The ministry submitted the draft articles to the Ministry of Justice for approval after the Cambodian General Department of Consumer Protection, Competition and Fraud Prevention departmental working group had discussed investigative procedures under Chapter 4 and penalties under Chapter 6 of the draft law.

The draft law on antitrust and competition will then be discussed at the Office of the Council of Ministers.

A Cambodian Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay told The Phnom Penh Post that an inter-ministerial committee had previously discussed the law at the Office of the Council of Ministers and that the justice ministry was currently reviewing the final chapter, which covers penalties.

He added that they hoped the law would be finalised soon. The antitrust and competition draft law is comprised of 7 chapters and 47 articles in total.

Cambodia competition draft law 2020
The Cambodian Antitrust and Competition draft law is comprised of 7 chapters and 47 articles in total.

Cambodian antitrust and competition law

In 2017, the same law was also thought to be close to being passed. Based on a Khmer Times report, the Competition Law is designed to help consumers purchase goods and services at fair prices, as well as increasing the quality and variety of the offer available to them in Cambodia.

The law should incentivise entrepreneurs to run their businesses efficiently and fairly, promote the establishment of new businesses, as well as protect the economy from harmful anti-competitive practices.

It will also benefit the public by providing competitive incentives that will stimulate economic growth, and bolster sustainability and innovation, according to government officials said the national newspaper.

It is believed the Kingdom of Cambodia would attract more foreign investors once it is passed. It should also make trade dispute resolutions easier to resolve.

CAMCONTROL is the Secretariat of the Commission from the Cambodia Import-Export Inspection and Fraud Repression Directorate-General setup in 2010. They will need to enforce the law once it is passed in Cambodia.

CAMCONTROL has 4 Departments:

  • Department of Consumer Protection and Fraud Repression
  • Department of Technical Affairs and Public Relation
  • Department of General Policy
  • Dispute Resolution and Department of Laboratory

ASEAN Competition Laws

Most ASEAN nations already have a Competition Law. According to the ASEAN website, “to adopt the law on competition is one of Cambodia’s commitments to ASEAN and WTO (World Trade Organisation.”

It adds that the purpose of this law is to “establish provisions and procedures applicable to unlawful practices of restraint of competition and to promote and protect the benefits of a competitive market economy of Cambodia.”

The Competition Law should cover:

  1. Unlawful agreements which prevent, restrict or distort competition.
  2. Abuse of a dominant position.
  3. Any business combination which has the effect of significantly preventing, restricting or distorting competition in a market.

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